Thumped: Blake Snell sets the wrong tone as Giants lose, 17-1, to Arizona

SAN FRANCISCO — Big league ballplayers have a saying: the starting pitcher sets the tone.

Blake Snell set an ominous tone on Friday night.

Making his third start in a Giants uniform, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner got rocked once again as the Arizona Diamondbacks knocked him around for five earned runs in 4-2/3 innings as the Giants suffered a 17-1 loss in front of 33,921 fans at Oracle Park.

It was a Friday night to forget.

And these were the same Giants that one night earlier played what manager Bob Melvin called the best game of the year, a 5-0 win in which Logan Webb very much set the tone with seven innings of shutout ball.

But Snell has yet to look comfortable in a Giants uniform, not since signing his two-year, $62-million contract in March and getting a late start in spring training, where he never got on the mound in a game.

His first action was in the big leagues, when he looked rusty in a home start against the Washington Nationals on April 8, allowing three runs in three innings. It got worse his next time out against his former team in Tampa Bay, when the Rays got him for seven runs in four innings.

On Friday, the lefty had a nice curveball working and looked solid in the first two innings, finishing the second with a 79-mph hook that dropped through the lower-inside corner to strike out Gabriel Moreno.

It was one of just three strikeouts on the night, as Snell couldn’t spot his fastball and failed to record outs in key moments. He gave up hard-hit ball after hard-hit ball to a Diamondbacks team that was rarely offering at bad pitches and clobbering the juicy ones.

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Ketel Marte hammered an RBI double to get the Diamondbacks out in front, 1-0, in the third inning. Rookie Blaze Alexander smoked another RBI double to make it 2-0 in the fourth. And in the fifth, the wheels came off.

Snell recorded the first two outs, then gave up back-to-back singles before Randal Grichuk doubled to score two more and put Arizona ahead, 5-1.

Snell handed the ball to Melvin and finished his night while allowing five earned runs on nine hits and a walk. He hadn’t allowed nine hits in a game since a 2021 start at the hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Through three games this year, Snell has allowed 15 earned runs in 11-2/3 innings (11.57 ERA) while striking out 12 batters and allowing five walks and 18 hits.

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His rough start Friday was followed by a trio of ugly outings by Landen Roupp (1-2/3 innings, four runs allowed), Kai-Wei Teng (one inning, five runs) and Nick Avila, who served up a grand slam to Alexander during a six-run eighth inning.

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To save their bullpen, the Giants sent utility man Tyler Fitzgerald to the mound in the top of the ninth. He allowed two more runs.

On offense, the Giants were stymied by lefty Jordan Montgomery, who, similar to Snell, didn’t sign until two days before the season started. But Montgomery looked solid in this one, inducing a lot of soft contact to the left side of the infield while holding the Giants to just one run over six innings.

The Giants’ only bright spot was a home run by Jorge Soler, who punished one 410 feet to left field for his fourth home run of the year. Remarkably, it was the first home run hit by the Giants at Oracle Park this season

Next up: LHP Kyle Harrison (2-1, 4.70 ERA) vs. RHP Zac Gallen (3-0, 1.64 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday.

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